HIST 339
Marx and His Times (and Marx's Relevance Today) Spring 2018
Division II
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Growing economic inequality–at home and in the world–is fueling powerful new protest movements reminiscent of the times of revolution in which Karl Marx played such an important role. Not surprisingly, activists, journalists, and academics have revived interest in studying Marx–the man, the activist, the theoretician–to discover his continuing relevance today. In this class, we will study Marx both by reading lively biographies of Marx and his family (Engels included) and by reading some of his most important writings. We will focus on Marx the revolutionary activist, paying special attention to the two revolutions he was actively engaged in (the 1848 revolutions, the Paris Commune of 1871); we will study his role in founding and working in the First International (1864-1876); we will examine Marx’s views about slavery and the Civil War in the United States, as well as the increasing attention he paid to non-European peoples and social formations in his later life; we will focus on Engels and Marx’s ideas about the family, gender, and the woman question; we will read excerpts from his major work, Capital, with an eye towards understanding the pertinence of his critique of capitalism; and we will conclude by examining Marx’s relevance for revolutionary movements today, particularly those demanding environmental justice in Standing Rock and beyond.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3472
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation to be based on class participation, and 2-3 medium sized papers, and a substantial class presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Enrollment Preferences: History majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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